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Showing posts from July, 2020

Maharashtra cane-cutters: Women, children face hardest brunt of exploitation

Below are excerpts from Oxfam India’s discussion paper “Human Cost of Sugar Living and Working Conditions of Migrant Cane-cutters in Maharashtra” by Pooja Adhikari and Vani Shree with inputs from Namit Agarwal, RanuBhogal, Diya Dutta and Sayantoni Datta:
*** Approximately 80% of the population in Marathwada is dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry for their livelihood. These are the only sources of sustained earnings for the community. However, prolonged drought over the years has led to agrarian distress, and lack of alternative livelihood opportunities forces people to migrate. Crop insurance schemes have failed to cover these losses.
Funds disbursed under the crop insurance scheme for drought prone areas of Marathwada were inadequate to cover the losses. The total amount disbursed under the scheme is limited to a few thousand rupees per person, compared to the loss incurred in hundreds of thousands per person/ per season on each crop.
Government’s minimum employment guarante…

Will Niti Aayog plan to announce woman leadership is crucial for economic revival?

Open letter by Prof Mansee Bal Bhargava, entrepreneur, researcher and educator with the SaciWATERS, Hyderabad, and is Environmental Design Consultant, Ahmedabad, to Niti Aayog and PMO on the need for a chief strategist and not chief economist for the Niti Aayog:
*** I’m writing with great passion regarding professional concerns over the vacancy position of chief economist cum sr lead at Niti Aayog which is also published now in regular news.
My concerns are two-folds with a concluding remark more as a suggestion:
Qualification sought for the Position: It is worrying that the qualification asked is biased asking for a PhD in Economics. Planning is not about Economics alone! We have seen over the decades since the inception of the predecessor of Niti Aayog, the Planning Commission, that doing only Economics has not brought us to a good state of Economy rather Development.
Therefore, here is a chance to Rethink! The position should rather call for a person with a qualification of Multi-…

Caste, gender violence, systemic poverty are promotion of Manu’s concept of karma

Reproduced below is an interview with Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award, and founder, Navsarjan Trust, Ahmedabad, by Johanna Deeksha, published in Edex Live, on how protests by African-Americans has begun to impact India’s Dalits, who have begun saying that ‘Manu Must Fall’:
***

‘Now they don’t put people in jail or black out news. They simply kill'

This about the last day of Safdar Hashmi, the young theatre artiste, who became a victim of political murder in January 1989. Read on excerpts from “Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi” by Sudhanva Deshpande, who is editor with LeftWord Books, actor and director with Jana Natya Manch. The book was been published by LeftWord Books in January 2020: ***

Inappropriate dam operation: What India can learn from 2011 Australian floods judgment

In a judgment on November 29, 2019 Australia’s New South Wales Supreme Court has held the State of Queensland, Wivenhoe Dam operators and engineers are responsible for “inappropriate operation of the dam”, leading to the devastating Brisbane 2011 floods. A South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP)note on the relevance of the judgment for India:
*** In a landmark judgment, the January 2011 Brisbane (Australia) floods class action decision was announced by the New South Wales Supreme Court (Justice Robert Beech-Jones) on Nov 29, 2019. The court held the State of Queensland, Wivenhoe Dam operators and engineers responsible for inappropriate operation of the dam. It’s one of the largest ever class action suits of Australia and could cost the government millions of dollars.
Brisbane Times reported on Nov 29, 2019: “More than 6800 victims of the 2011 Brisbane flood have won a historic class action against Seqwater, Sunwater and the Queensland government over the management of th…

A case built under the pretext of creating communal disharmony, inciting violence

Brief facts and timeline of the Bhima Koregaon case prepared by Maja Daruwala, senior advisor, Tata Trusts, and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi: 
*** Bhima Koregaon, a small village with historical significance became the rallying point for Dalit rights activists in December, 2017 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818. The British Army comprised mostly of Dalits defeated the upper caste Peshwa army, led by Peshwa Bajirao II. Hundreds of people from the Dalit community gathered on 31st December, 2017 to commemorate the anniversary of the battle.

Plan to reduce air pollution by 20-30% by 2024 won’t lead to breathable air quality

Excerpts from Greenpeace India's report “Airpocalypse IV: National Air Monitoring Programme (NAMP) & Assessment of Air Pollution in Indian Cities” by Avinash Chanchal and Chetna Chauhan:
*** India was expected to have a total of 3000 stations established in Class I (population of one million or more) and II (population of 50,000 to 99,999) cities and towns by 2022. Although the data availability through the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) which covered 342 operating stations in 127 cities/towns across the 26 states and 4 Union Territories of the country in 2016 has more than doubled in past three years and now (as on 17th December 2019) India has installed 793 stations in 344 cities/towns across 28 states and 7 Union Territories, but is still far from where it is expected to be and lags far behind, compared to other regions such as the United States, Europe and China etc.
In the year 2018, NAMP recorded data across 302 cities having 745 stations across 28 states and 7 union…

Good food, extra rest: Little attention on special needs of pregnancy in rural India

Excerpts from the Jaccha Baccha-Survey (JABS) of pregnant and nursing women in rural India conducted in June 2019, coordinated by Jean Drèze, Reetika Khera and Anmol Somanchi:
*** The Jaccha-Baccha Survey (JABS), conducted by student volunteers in June 2019, took place in six states: Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. In each state, the survey teams visited 10 to 12 randomly-selected anganwadis (spread over two blocks, in the same district) and interviewed as many as possible of the pregnant and nursing women (women who delivered a baby during the six months preceding the survey) registered at those anganwadis: 342 and 364 respondents, respectively.

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change

Note prepared by Compassion UK, “Child Poverty: the Facts and the Future”, an in-depth guide to child poverty and how can one tackle the challenges: *** Child. Poverty. Two words that should never be put together. Yet tragically this is the reality for an estimated 385 million children, accounting for more than half of the world’s extreme poor.

Govt schemes to modernise madrasas can’t provide quality education to poor Muslims

Excerpts from the “independent and non-sponsored” report, “A New Agenda for the Education Of Indian Muslims in the 21st Century”, by John Kurrien, PhD:
*** No discussion on the education of Muslims in contemporary India can be complete without discussing the role of madrasas. A significant contribution of the 2006 Sachar Committee Report was its frank and illuminating discussion on the role of madrasas in the education of Muslims in India. The main issues that it dealt with and the solutions that it articulated are still relevant to any discussion on their role in a new education agenda for Indian Muslims.
Beginning with the Committee’s articulation of the significant position of madrasas in the life of Indian Muslims, and the suspicion that madrasas evoked, are concerns that continue to resonate a decade later after its Report’s publication:
“Madarsas, through which the Community ensures that its future generations aquire knowledge of Islam, have become a symbol of Muslim identity in …